Questions tagged [zoology]

The biological study of animals. Very broad use so be sure to add additional clarifying tags

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72
votes
3answers
14k views

Why shouldn't dogs eat chocolate?

I was wondering why dogs shouldn't eat chocolate. Can't dogs just excrete the indigestible component in their droppings? It's common knowledge that dogs shouldn't eat chocolate. What I don't know is ...
70
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4answers
7k views

Why are there no wheeled animals?

In physics, "almost everything is already discovered, and all that remains is to fill a few unimportant holes." (See Jolly.) Therefore, on Physics SE, people are veering off into different directions: ...
68
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2answers
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Do animals exhibit handedness (paw-ness?) preference?

I have been observing my cat and found that when confronted with an unknown item, she will always use her front left paw to touch it. This has me wondering if animals exhibit handedness like humans ...
59
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4answers
8k views

Why do smaller mammals move intermittently?

I was watching a nice little video on youtube but couldn't help but notice how snappy smaller animals such as rats and chipmunks move. By snappy I mean how the animal moves in almost discrete states ...
54
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4answers
6k views

Why do men have nipples?

I'd be tempted to call nipples in men vestigial, but that suggests they have no modern function. They do have a function, of course, but only in women. So why do men (and all male mammals) have them?
49
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1answer
6k views

Do large animals experience a meaningful delay when moving their most distant appendages?

According to the Physics Factbook, nerve impulses travel at speeds anywhere from 1 meter per second up to around 100 meters per second. Blue whales reach up to around 30 meters long. For a full-size ...
47
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2answers
14k views

Are there any animals that are both poisonous and venomous?

From my layman understanding, animals that inject venom into the bloodstream by biting or poking are venomous. And ones that harm you when you eat them are poisonous. Are there any animals (or plants)...
45
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2answers
4k views

How do cockroaches resist the effects of ionizing radiation?

Cockroaches are very hardy insects. It is known that, among other things, they are able to withstand bursts of ionizing radiation that would kill a human being. The explanations of this observed ...
39
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5answers
10k views

How does a baby deer stand the day it's born?

I know most creatures take time to learn some things. Birds take some time to fly. Human beings take some time walk or stand. But in the case of the deer species, it's different. It can stand the ...
39
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1answer
16k views

Why do ants live so long?

I was surprised to learn that worker ants in some species live many years. I would have expected a lifespan of a few weeks or months (which is apparently the case for many species). What factors ...
39
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2answers
3k views

Do homing pigeons fly straight home or follow certain “highways”?

Homing pigeons (Columba livia) have been prized for their navigational abilities for thousands of years. They’ve served as messengers during war, as a means of long-distance communication, and as ...
35
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3answers
13k views

Why do parasites sometimes kill their hosts?

It's bothered me for a while now. I understand why a parasitoid would do this, as it only temporarily requires the host, and that not all parasites kill their hosts. There seems to be no evolutionary ...
34
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1answer
5k views

Insect identification - Is this a bedbug?

This bug was found on a couch in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The couch, and the two beds in the room show no signs of other bugs. Is this a bed bug that I should worry about or something harmless? It ...
34
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1answer
712 views

Does this recording sound like the pulses emitted by bats?

Out of curiosity, I recorded sounds in an area with lots of bats, hoping to be able to "hear" the bats communicating by lowering the ultrasound to a level down to the frequency which can be heard by a ...
33
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2answers
6k views

What do butterflies eat?

I found a beautiful scarce-swallowtail butterfly in my storeroom, but it was kind of frozen and couldn't fly away. So, I put it on my terrace in the sun. After a little bit, it flew a few meters away ...
33
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2answers
18k views

Who are humans' closest relatives, after primates?

This question here addresses the controversy of whether humans are more closely related to bonobos or chimps. My question is - which group of animals are are closest relatives, beyond primates? Or ...
30
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2answers
7k views

Why is the Red Fox colored bright orange?

They're not poisonous or anything, so it can't be aposematism. As far as I know it doesn't come from diet like the flamingo. They're not apex predators, so they can't get away with it (like tigers), ...
29
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2answers
1k views

What are the trajectories of flying insects?

Many flying insects tend to have very jagged trajectories. For moves of a fruit fly looks like a random walk. Is there any research on the properties of trajectories (e.g. their fractal dimension or ...
29
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1answer
920 views

What strange jelly-like thing is shown in the photo?

What is shown in the pictures below? The photo was taken at the Australia's south coast (Queenscliff). The length of the thing is no longer than 50 cm... It doesn't move and has jelly-like consistency....
29
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2answers
9k views

Why do we grow so much hair on our heads compared to our bodies?

I've been wondering about head hair, facial hair in particular. Human males can grow very extensive beards should they choose to not shave - however you do not really see this in our chimpanzee ...
28
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2answers
2k views

Do plant-animal cross races exist?

Plants and animals have the following distinct properties: Plants live from solar energy by photosynthesis, they use solar energy to make sugar and oxygen out of carbon dioxide, which gives them ...
28
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1answer
3k views

How long before robin no longer needs the nest on my porch?

A robin has made a nest on my porch. Unfortunately, the nest is on my weed wacker which I might want to use at some point this summer. Currently, there are two eggs in the nest. How long will it be ...
27
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1answer
4k views

What is this droplet of liquid that comes out of a mosquito?

I have been looking at pictures of different species of mosquito and several times I came across pictures where the mosquito seems to be secreting some kind of fluid. In the pictures one can clearly ...
26
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3answers
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Are humans the only animal that requires “clean water”?

I've seen a number of animals - dogs, cats, squirrels, ducks and geese, etc drink from puddles, some of them were muddy, others had green flora growing under water. Same goes for lakes and rivers. A ...
25
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5answers
11k views

Why are there no known animals with an odd number of legs?

In my 6th grade science book it is said that there are no three legged animals, and that no animal with an odd number of limbs exists. I checked Wikipedia and could confirm this: There are no ...
24
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1answer
3k views

What kind of creature is this?

I saw this on Facebook today and have tried researching it myself, but I have had no luck.
24
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2answers
3k views

What exactly is this small puffer fish doing and how did it manage to accomplish such a feat?

I recently saw a video on youtube where it shows a puffer fish making intricate designs in the sand: OZZY MAN VIDEO The puffer fish made this design on the sand: What exactly is the puffer ...
24
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2answers
2k views

Why are flies not scared when landing on a monitor with changing graphics?

I have been wondering why would insects in general, not be scared when important changes happen on your monitor where they have landed... If you move even just a finger, they are scared to death and ...
24
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3answers
16k views

Why don't rats have a gallbladder, unlike other rodents?

It has long been known that rats do not have a gallbladder, though other species including humans, monkeys, cows, reptiles, dogs and mice, all have a gallbladder. In this paper from almost 100 years ...
23
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1answer
656 views

Are there dextral/sinistral higher animals? [duplicate]

For example, almost every dog I've met in my life (more than 20 subjects) uses their right paw touching one while asking for attention. Can it be used as a criterion for calling them dextral? If not, ...
22
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5answers
925 views

Do immortal organisms exist?

Do organisms exist that are able to live indefinitely if they are not killed by external factors? Under external factors I would consider things like predators and natural disaster but not illness by ...
22
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3answers
53k views

Do cows produce milk excessively?

Do cows produce more milk than it is required for their calves? It seems like cows are able to provide milk all the time (all year around). Is it so? Or do they, like other mammals, produce milk only ...
22
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1answer
4k views

How did the felines get to America?

I don't know if the felines got originated on America or on Africa, but I do know there are species of cat in America and Africa that belong to the same family and genus (Felidae & Panthera). How ...
22
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3answers
694 views

How is the blood volume of a living organism measured without killing it?

How is the blood-volume of an organism measured without killing it? Note:The blood-volume of an organism is defined as the total volume of blood present inside that organism.
22
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1answer
4k views

What is this crawling next to my house?

I just found this outside my house while walking the dog. I was thinking it's some kind of slug? It's been raining a lot lately and today, so maybe that has something to do with it being on the ...
22
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3answers
356 views

I found this strange tooth in Galveston, Texas. What does it belong to?

I found this on May 7, 2017, on Bolivar Peninsula in Galveston, Texas. What's not visible are the treelike rings inside the tooth and what looks like a tiny interior porous center. It looks like it ...
21
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1answer
2k views

Do large animals often evolve into smaller animals?

There are several examples where the largest animals were killed off preferentially due to a major ecological shift: The KT extinction event The Holocene extinction, as well as the major megafauna ...
20
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3answers
3k views

Do any animals other than humans undergo menopause?

Do any animals other than humans undergo menopause? Also, is there any difference between animals in captivity and animals in the wild as regards menopause? For example, even if menopause has been ...
20
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3answers
6k views

Do animals other than humans have different blood types?

Humans have the ABO and Rhesus blood typing systems. I have two questions about it: Why have we evolved these blood types? Do other animals have different blood types as well?
20
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2answers
536 views

Was the recent “conservation hunt” of a black rhino supported by science?

CNN recently covered a sanctioned black rhino hunt in Namibia by Texan Corey Knowlton, who bid US$350,000 for the license. In the story, he claims that the hunt was actually supporting conservation of ...
19
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2answers
5k views

Why is wombat excreta shaped like cubes?

I've heard that wombat excreta is cube shaped, but I don't understand how that can happen. Has anyone studied the phenomenon? What would the evolutionary pressure have been to cause this?
19
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2answers
897 views

Transitivity of Species Definitions

There are many definitions of "species" which usually take the form Two individuals are of the same species if ... An implied (rarely made explicit) property of any sensible species definition is ...
19
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4answers
603 views

What sea animal is this?

I am in a remote village and a young boy (second pic holding tail) says this thing is his friend. This creature is safe, we held it for pictures and released it after. None of us know what this is and ...
19
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1answer
617 views

What effect does a bat's echolocation have on other bats?

Bat echolocation is a perceptual system where ultrasonic sounds are emitted specifically to produce echoes. By comparing the outgoing pulse with the returning echoes, the brain and auditory nervous ...
18
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3answers
1k views

Public database of animal specifications

I'm a math teacher looking for data to help my students interested in biology complete a quantitatively flavored study of animals. (As a math person, I apologize if I'm not using discipline-...
18
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3answers
62k views

Why are turtles classified as reptiles and not amphibians?

I understand that turtles are reptiles because like all reptiles, they have scales on their body. But turtles (specifically sea turtles) live on both land and water, very much like amphibians. Also, ...
18
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3answers
4k views

Help identify this worm-like thing

Many instances of this worm-like creature were found in a water system for a mountain cabin in the Sierra Nevada mountains of the US, in late June / early July. The water system collects water from ...
18
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1answer
2k views

What kind of skull is this?

We found this skull on a beach in southwestern Sweden, and are curious as to what kind of animal it was.
18
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2answers
2k views

Horned Mohawk looking insect. What is it?

Any ideas? I didn't know any other way to explain it. I live in Indiana, USA if that helps. Someone said it might be a "stink bug" but I'm not sure and not willing to find out!
18
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2answers
4k views

How do birds deal with their eyes drying out at high speeds?

My eyes tear up when cycling at 15 mph, which is nothing compared to bird airspeeds. Do birds continuously produce lots of tears and blink a lot, or do the eyes self-moisturize from the inside ...